"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" 2 Timothy 1:7

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Still infertile

This post has been brewing for quite a while and so it will probably be all over the place, but here goes...

Some people may feel or believe or actually live that fertility is healed once you have a baby. And while a long present void is filled, that doesn't always make it "all better". Not everyone's body "now knows what to do" and so they miraculously get pregnant and their own. Some people do and that's amazing and wonderful for them, in fact, I'm quite jealous of those people, as I'd think they would be of me were the rolls reversed. 

However, for us, we did IVF in Oct of 2010 and had 8 embryos. We assumed we would end up with 3-4 children from those embryos. We were wrong. We have one child and no more embryos and the sting of infertility is fresh and painful and hard to navigate once again. The added pressure is that now we are not only concerned with the two of us, but we have a child who has mentioned siblings. She isn't flat out asking, but one night a few weeks ago as we left her best friends house I said in jest to my husband "who needs a sister when you have a best friend like that?" And from the back seat Sugar pipes "me! I do!". Talk about ripping at your heart. If you only knew sweet girl, if you only knew. And one day she will! We have always intended on being fully honest with her about our fertility struggles, but for now she's too young. 

So we face infertility still and it's difficult. It is particularly difficult when so many people who had babies around the same time as me have already had another baby or are about to. I don't begrudge them, the truth is I'm just jealous. I know the amazing blessing of a baby and I want that again. 

Only this time to face another full IVF cycle does not feel right. It does not feel peaceful and I do not have a sense of calm about it. I have said enough times that God gives you a gut instinct for a reason and I intend to follow this one for now. He may have something else planned for us and He may just be saying "wait" vs "no", but I believe had I listened to my gut even with our adoption attempt that the outcome would've been different. We both would've walked away early on and the toll might not have been so great on my heart. So I don't intend to push this agenda. 

That being said, not pushing my agenda and not immediately going for another full IVF and not knowing if we will ever have more children is a very hard place to be in and it is weighing heavy on my heart at times. Some days I am completely happy and at peace and know that I am Held by God. Some days I'm just as human as can be and I struggle and I'm sad and I question and I fight with God because I don't understand. However, I'm well aware that it's not for us to all understand. 

My second due date was December 31st  2009. I cannot help but think that I should be planning a 4th birthday party. Maybe a frosty the snowman theme with a hot chocolate bar? Maybe it would be ninja turtles or princesses? I'll never know and there are days that makes me very sad. 

I am also eternally grateful because I get to see the wonder in the eyes of a 2 year old this year and watch how magical this time of year should always be. I never want anyone to think I'm not grateful or happy, it's just that my life is a dichotomy always with babies in heaven and one blessing here with me! 

The holidays are such a blessing but also seem to bring to light even more those who are missing. My heart goes out to all of you who are missing a mother, brother, father, grandparent, sister, friend, or child this season. May God's spirit fill you with the peace that they are celebrating in the most grand style possible! I hope we can all use this holiday season to look at each other through the eyes of God and know that what you see is never all of someone's story.  If someone is short or unkind to you, if someone refuses to smile, to share your ideas, or to participate in things the way you feel they should, may we demonstrate Grace and Love because we have no clue where their hearts are currently! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Infertility is cruel

Tonight I'm just upset for a friend who has been kicked in the teeth too many times to count when it comes to infertility. The question so many infertiles ask, "Why doesn't God want me to be a mommy?" is one that rips at the heart of those of us who have been there. We have felt it. We have wondered what we ever did wrong. What could we do different? Do better? Do less? Do more? 

It's so hard to understand why some people struggle so much to have just one child, while others have "accident" babies, and babies they don't even want so frequently. 

In a small group recently someone asked what would be the first question you'd like to ask God? My answer came immediately...Why is it so hard for some people to have babies and not others? 

I believe with all I am that God brings beauty from ashes, through our suffering, but it's just so hard to see sometimes! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Melancholy


I have had a nagging feeling lately that I couldn't pinpoint until today...it's melancholy. I'm not sad, I'm not upset. I'm actually happy, but there is an underlying melancholy that is there.

The thing is, this feeling seems as though it happens to me when I'm not aware at all! Truly it feels like something that "happens" to me, almost like getting sick, it's as if you can feel it coming on, but you cannot prevent it. 

You see, last year at this time I was in the wait after an FET. We didn't publicize this, which may seem strange as open as I am with our journey, but we didn't and that was best for us then. What I didn't realize then was just how sad I was at the time. I guess I suppressed it and ignored the emotions. Recently I've been thinking a lot about that cycle, I assume because it's been a year. 

What happened then was that the cycle was rushed, I wasn't able to take the rest that I needed afterwards. Then the stomach virus fell on our house and it hit me so hard that I ended up in the ER. So kindly the doc did a beta (without us asking, or indicating a need), which he informed my husband was negative. So I'm writhing in pain from sickness, bleeding esophagus, and misery across the board, then I hear that my beta is negative. Talk about a BAD night! Foxy tried to encourage me that there was still time, but I've done this enough and there was no feasible way. I knew. I still had my blood drawn on the day, but I knew.  In June I thought multiple times about how "if it had worked" I'd have a newborn. But I don't and now I've suffered another fail. 

September is also when I had my first miscarriage and somehow it always lingers. I feel a tug at my heart and a longing for what could have been.

This is the strange thing...I think people who have experienced loss will get this, but it truly is like a visitor comes and sits in your house unannounced and waits for you to notice him. This grief, this melancholy, this weight, seems to show up somehow some way on a regular basis. 

So I'm melancholy and wishing there were more babies in my house and that probably explains the addition of our newest fur baby...T'Gris (little gray)! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Join The Movement...Don't Offer Things You Can't Give.

The title here might sound strange or angry or something negative, but it really isn't. I worry sometimes that people read this blog and think that I'm so negative and so focused on infertility that I don't enjoy my life, which simply isn't true. This just happens to be my "safe" place to discuss the things that infertility has taught me or is teaching me. Oftentimes subjects that come up are from a discussion I have had with another infertile friend or someone who is not, but it brings up an idea. I assure you I am very happy and enjoy my blessings daily, my Facebook, Instagram, and private blog are for that!! I always want this to be a safe place for infertiles to read!

So the subject that I wanted to touch on today is that of offering something that you really cannot give. I cannot tell you, because I did not keep track, how many people offered to be a surrogate for me. While I typically appreciated the somewhat selfless offer, I was also no where near the point of considering that, nor would I have any idea how to approach it. The thing about surrogacy that I've learned recently is that (at least in Louisiana) the egg donor, or biological mother has little to no rights. A surrogate could carry a baby that has no biological connection to her, aside from being baked in her belly (not making light of that its HUGE) and can decide to keep the baby because she has become "attached". This horrified me! Most people who offer to be surrogates have been pregnant before and did not mind the process (some people do not enjoy pregnancy, even ones who fought tooth and nail to be pregnant--I'm one of them), and therefore think they could do this as a gift to someone else. I like to believe that the world is full of wonderful selfless people and that this would never happen in real life. Lets be real people are people and we are all flawed, hence my husband and I being scammed by a crook who acted for six months as if she were going to give us a baby only to swindle money out of us (she had done it before and will probably do it again)! You just do not know how you would respond in such a situation if you nurtured and loved and cared for a baby for 9 months and then had to turn around and give him/her to someone else.

For me personally, having been through two miscarriages, I couldn't imagine if I had put my embryos in someone else and then she miscarried. The level of hurt and blame there is hard to comprehend.

Now before someone thinks I'm dogging surrogacy, please know that I'm not at all, what I am saying is please please please do not offer such a service to a friend who is fighting infertility unless you have honestly and thoroughly considered the full scale of what that means. While you may have just been making a polite gesture, they may be seriously considering needing a surrogate and to come back and request it of you and be denied is another type of pain that no one needs to endure.

What can you do then? What can you say? Say you care, say you do NOT understand (I promise we don't want you to understand), say you will listen even if you don't get it, say you are honestly praying for them, for guidance, for miracles, for peace. Feel free to tell us you don't get it, you don't want to, it makes you uncomfortable, but that you will go to a fun movie and laugh with us or a sad movie and cry with us. Let us take your kids to the park, the book store, the movies, something that lets us pretend for just one minute that we could be great parents! One of the most fun days I had was picking up my friend's daughter from daycare, taking her to the park, and to the book store. I got to spoil her, no I didn't tell people she was mine, but I got to enjoy the things they got to enjoy daily!

If you are honestly up to it (and it would take guts) say you will go to a support group meeting with them. Read infertility blogs so you can understand more. I've had a few sweet sweet friends contact me and say, I don't know what to do but my friend just lost a baby, can you give me some ideas? Or should I tell my infertile friend I'm pregnant and how? Just the idea that you cared enough to ask someone else would warm their hearts more than you know!

I could go on and on about what to do and what not to do, but I will stop here for today! I'm always willing to answer questions though, so post them in comments or email me!

National Infertility Awareness Week--speak up!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Join the Movement with More Honesty

Some honesty...last night the girls in my support group started chatting about the joy and pain of being around new babies. Some of us torment ourselves by reveling in the joy of them while others keep our distance. It's hard to know which is harder.

I typically soak up new babies and most of my friends' kids with all I can, but will say that some days I just didn't have it in me.

In trying to keep this real and honest I will share something that not everyone knows about when I was in the darkest throws of infertility. My birthday falls close to one of my dear friends and we like to have a joint party most years. It's super fun crawfish and beer and once kids came along they were included too, even Easter egg hunting was added for them to enjoy. This was both wonderful and awful for me, as I was childless and heart broken, but loved playing with all the kids. What only my husband and sister were lucky enough to witness was the full on meltdowns that would occur after such occasions. I'm sharing because I know that I'm not the only one who has had this happen, not to make anyone feel bad, but after these fun occasions I would come home and experience full on debilitating crying sessions. Infertiles know the ones where you feel like your heart may cave into your soul and leave you hollow forever. It was almost like a masochistic torture I would do to myself. But I couldn't pass up kid fun!

Sometimes within a couple each one handles it differently, where one soaks up kids and one avoids them as much as humanly possible and often feels like they look like a monster not wanting to hold new babies! Because really?!? Who doesn't love to hold new babies?!? Um, devastated heart-broken people who can't seem to have their own children, who are possibly afraid that given the opportunity they may cry all over your child and or run out the door with them! **I may have tried to steal my godson a few times and a few times his mommy might would've let me, at least for a few days! ;) **

The handling it differently causes division within a relationship too because you don't grieve the same way and then you worry your spouse doesn't care as much or cares entirely too much. It takes a whole lot of staying power to make it through infertility!

Brutal honesty also leads me to this statement...we know we are irrational and we know we snap at random times. Believe me, we would love to be forewarned too, we would avoid ourselves at times! I will share a story (again to make others feel normal). In the year of pregnancy (as I lovingly refer to 2010 when literally everyone I know was pregnant) while we were in the depression of adoption scam dregs and starting IVF, yet another of my friends called to tell me that she was pregnant. **Yes I am aware that everyone dreaded telling me, believe me I dreaded hearing it and trying to keep it together** Bless her heart I think she hit me on a highly hormonal day of a new injection or something because I believe my response was something along these lines..."Seriously!!!! Can none of you wait until the pee dries on the stick to call me?!? I am just trying to get to my IVF an EVERYONE is knocked up. I cannot take anymore! I mean obviously I'm happy for you!". Her response, bless her sweet heart, was something along the lines of, "um, ok, I'm sure you will be pregnant soon too and it will all be ok! I'll call you later!" And she did call me later (maybe a few DAYS later). That is the reality of an infertile heart and the kindness of someone who does not get it, but can take a random outburst and never mention it again! I'm forever grateful to her for that and how she did not insist we talk about pregnancy constantly, she understood that while I was honestly happy for her my pain precluded me from being able to fully share in her joy!

Infertility is misery and it hurts relationships, some beyond repair. Sadly that is a truth we all learn. I'm blessed it has not destroyed my marriage and lucky I'm married to someone who is rather hard headed and thick skinned. Blessings also flow from the online support that I found and the ladies who became my life line when no one else understood, those who listened to me, tied my rope, encouraged me, and kept me afloat when I could not do it on my own.

If you need support ask me about the group here, contact Resolve (www.resolve.org), or search online! If there is not a group in your area, start one! No qualifications are necessary, just a heart to help others! Also know that your horrible behaviors, even if only in the privacy of your own home are things plenty of us have done and you are not alone!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Join the Movement

The wonderful people at Resolve (The National Infertility Association) have made a blog challenge to tell what we are doing to increase awareness about infertility. So here's what I've been doing...

I started this blog and put a whole lot of effort into being completely open and honest about my fertility struggles. Regardless of what anyone thinks it is not easy to admit publicly and basically to anyone anywhere that there is something wrong with you. Being able to procreate is supposed to be what being a woman is all about and as trite as it may sound to someone who doesn't understand...it sucks to feel broken, unable to do the main duty you were created to do...make healthy babies.

When I was living in Texas I had the blessing of being able to attend a support group for ladies who have experienced loss. If you haven't had that blessing and need it, I pray you can find it! That led me to starting a group when I moved back to Louisiana. I don't say that to pat myself on the back, I couldn't have done it without the support of my wonderful church and the ladies in the group who constantly encourage me and share their own struggles! We have a weekly "live" meeting at FUMC downtown and also have a Facebook group where we talk, share, and support one another! The collective knowledge within our group astounds me daily and the women there that support each other and lift one another up continually is something that blesses my heart so profoundly that I'm often left speechless.

I'm vocal about my infertility, maybe too vocal in some people's opinions, but to me knowledge is power and knowing you are not alone, or learning ways to be proactive for yourself, those things cannot be replaced. I lost two babies, my heart still aches over those losses, so my prayer is that my losses can help others, if that is the case, then Layla and Michael have made an impact here on earth and that's the most I could hope for my children! I won't stop being vocal about loss or infertility. I don't do it to make others uncomfortable. I do it to help the millions who feel completely lost, completely alone, completely misunderstood!

To learn more about infertility, check the Resolve website, visit their Facebook page, or ask someone you know who is facing it. Those of us who are infertile typically would love for someone to be interested so it doesn't feel so isolating!

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

You can check out my blog roll as well, there are some amazing women who blog about their infertility struggles also, many have become my friends IRL (in real life) and continue to hold my hand through the trials of infertility!



Monday, April 15, 2013

Four years and more tears

My first baby was due on this day four years ago. Until last year it was always a huge wonder as to if that date would've been anywhere near accurate, but considering C came a day after my due date, I'd venture to guess that Layla would have made her debut today or tomorrow as well. No one really knows obviously, but the truth is that this day hit me much harder this year than it has in the past two years. I attribute that to having a living child now and being acutely more aware of what I missed with the loss of my first two children. I'm always grateful to the friends I have that remember this day with me, you will never know how much that means to me. I started my day with a tough workout of stadiums and track sprints, I run to relieve my frustrations and sadness. I commented to my friend that Boston was happening as we ran and just how exciting that was, runners get giddy about Boston even if we aren't there, or ever think we might be there!

I have shed a plethora of tears today that weren't about me or Layla, but as a runner, my heart is completely broken for the runners and their families, the volunteers, the support personnel, the spectators, the runners turned heros, the lost and injured, and the people who couldn't complete the race in Boston. For me being a part of the baby loss community is one that blankets you in love and support, for those who aren't also runners, just know that the running community is the same way! I've finished two marathons and 11 half-marathons and let me just tell you that the love and support of this community is much like the one we all know here. It warms my heart to know that runners who had just spent all their energy and reserves on this race turned around and offered aid to those who were hurt, it speaks volumes for the character and it offers hope in a world that seems so dark and so tragic at times! People who had just spent hours on foot running 26.2 miles continued on foot to hospitals to donate blood. I could barely put one foot in front of the other after my marathons and can't imagine turning around and donating blood, but that's what we do when faced with tragedy, we as runners, baby loss moms, Americans, human beings, we step up for one another! My heart is broken tonight that my favorite past time/hobby has been tainted like this, that the hard work and glory of so many has been stolen from them as celebration isn't in the air as it should be.

I'm sending all of my love and prayers to Boston, to the victims, their families, to those who saw this horrific event first hand! Tomorrow I'll be wearing a race shirt in honor of those who lived this and those who didn't survive, as a sign of solidarity for the running community, join me please!